MD, KY Agree To Improve Treatment Of Deaf, Hard-Of-Hearing Inmates


Maryland and Kentucky have settled cases to assure proper treatment of deaf and hard-of-hearing inmates, says the Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs and the National Association of the Deaf. “There has been a pattern of mistreatment of deaf prisoners around the country, including even disciplining some for not obeying orders they could not hear,” said Deborah Golden of the Washington Lawyers’ Committee Prisoners' Project. Golden said the Maryland and Kentucky settlements should serve as a model for other states and the federal government.

These settlement provides for access to videophones so that deaf inmates will be able to communicate with people outside of prison, adequate visual notification of oral announcements concerning emergencies and other events, adequate access to sign language interpreters and other auxiliary aids and services, and implementation of necessary policies, training, outreach to prisoners, and monitoring to ensure equal treatment of deaf inmates.

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